How to E-valuate as a Pastor
How to E-valuate as a Pastor

Christopher Campbell • September 23, 2021

It's that time of year again - evaluation time! Here are seven ways I evaluate my work as a pastor:


I. Exegesis

Am I an exegete of God’s truth?


Ask: Do I carefully study and rightly handle the word of truth?


2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.


II. Exposition

Am I an expositor of God’s word?


Ask: Do I preach and teach the word as one who is prepared and patient?


2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV)

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.


III. Exhortation

Am I an exhorter of God’s Scripture? 


Ask: Do I encourage, warn and motivate God's people to obey God’s word?


1 Timothy 4:13 (ESV)

13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.


IV. Eldership

Am I an elder in God’s church?


Ask: Do I care for what belongs to God as an entrusted steward? Do I supervise with integrity? Am I always on guard?


Acts 20:28 (ESV)

28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.


V. Example

Am I an example to God’s flock?


Ask: Do I model the faith in a way that should be imitated?


1 Peter 5:2–3 (ESV)

shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.


VI. Entreaty

Am I entreating before God’s throne?


Ask: Do I prioritize prayer both personally and in the church?


Acts 6:4 (ESV)

But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”


VII. Equipping

Am I equipping God’s saints? 


Ask: Do I encourage God's people to exercise the gifts, services, and activities as the Spirit has apportioned to each for ministry in Christ’s church?


Ephesians 4:11–12 (ESV)

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ

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2021-09-19 Sn | Sermonic Insights
2021-09-19 Sn | Sermonic Insights

Christopher Campbell • September 21, 2021

I want my preaching to be memorable, but most of all, faithful to God's word. In this sermon, I outlined the movement of 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 with three "D" words to summarize three principles about the Holy Spirit's relationship with the Church. In my study, I noticed the following words in the text:


v.2 - ἀπαγόμενοι | "(you were) led astray" - Before Christ, when the Christians were pagans, they were led astray to worship "dumb idols." But the Holy Spirit will never lead the church astray. Instead, HE consistently and clearly leads us to our Savior, Jesus, who is not deaf, dumb, or dead! The Holy Spirit will never DECEIVE us.


v.4 - Διαιρέσεις | "varieties" - When this word "varieties" is repeated in the text, it is presented along with another word to describe God: αὐτὸς "same". God's gifts, services, and activities are given as "varieties," but God is always the "same." Therefore, variety cannot mean division. The Holy Spirit will never DIVIDE us.


v.7 - δίδοται | "is given" - This word is passive, meaning here, that God performs the action of giving to us. Each of us is given (by God) a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. What grace! This giving for our benefit informs the third movement word, "deprive." The Holy Spirit will never DEPRIVE us of what we need to do His will.


May God accomplish His purposes through the preaching of His word!


This sermon is available on the podcast and website (audio, video, and preaching manuscript).




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Reflecting on 2 Years
Reflecting on 2 Years

Christopher Campbell • September 01, 2021

On this day, two years ago, I began work as a new pastor to Southside Baptist Church in Decatur, Alabama. The following Sunday, I preached a sermon from 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 called "Let the Word Work."


While this appeal did spring from the sermon text, it also communicated a conviction that has guided my work to this day - shepherding Southside to "be God's witnesses, who do God's will, as revealed in God's word."


I heard a pastor's first year is a "honeymoon year."


The first six months started that way, resembling something like what I used to call "normal." Then, March 2020 arrived, and you know the rest of the story. Eighteen months (and counting) of "pandemic pastoring."


As I reflect today on these last two years, I hear the appeal of that first sermon again, to "let the word work." Let God do what God will do. Labor in that which is sure, life-giving, and unchanging.


2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV)

"preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching."


Southside Baptist Church in Decatur, Alabama gathers Sundays at 10:30 AM in the Sanctuary at 709 9th St SE. Preaching. Pastoral Care. Strategic Biblical Movements.

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Numbers 18:1-20:29 | Let God be God
Numbers 18:1-20:29 | Let God be God

Christopher Campbell • February 20, 2021

Today, I read Numbers 18:1-20:29 in the NET Bible [Historical Plan]. 


I have been meditating on 20:6-13. When the people of Israel gathered together against Moses and Aaron and directly contended with Moses because they did not have water, Moses and Aaron threw themselves down with their faces to the ground and the LORD appeared to them. 


The LORD instructed Moses to do something visible for the assembled community. “...speak to the rock before their eyes.” The rock would then pour forth its water, and the people would know that the LORD provided for them because water came from a rock when it was but spoken to. This would have to be the work of God! 


But Moses did not speak to the rock. He “struck the rock twice.” 


The Scriptures interpret what happened. Moses did not trust the LORD enough to show Him as holy before the Israelites (20:12). What Moses did showed more of himself than God (NET Note). Moses and Aaron rebelled against the LORD’s instruction (20:24). 


Perhaps speaking to the rock wasn’t a show of force enough for Moses, so he struck it? But the LORD wasn’t after a show of force. The LORD was after a show of FAITH, and Moses failed. 


As a prophet of God (Moses) and as a priest of God (Aaron), these men had a common function in both of their offices. They were to show God as holy before the people. 


I think about what that means for a pastor, a deacon, and yes - every believer. What we do must be less about what WE do, and more about showing God as holy. If we want God to strike when God says “speak,” then we speak, and let God be God. 

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1/20 | Highlights & Insights from the Word
1/20 | Highlights & Insights from the Word

Christopher Campbell • January 20, 2021

January 20, 2021


Cheated and Crossed: The Blessings of Esau and Ephraim


For the last twenty days, I have followed the course set forth by a Bible reading plan


This plan is not a prosecutor, determined to indict me when I miss a reading. It is a friend, resting in a digital file, eager to be retrieved and consulted daily. 


Do you have such a plan? 


My plan is like a broken record. It whispers an identical message repeatedly. Every bullet point, check box, and assignment gently nudges me to keep reading!  


My “keep reading plan” rebukes the occasional temptation to read too quickly, skip over parts, or to quit altogether. It assures me that each verse and chapter belongs to a larger context.


God is that context. 


Cheated: The Blessing of Esau (Genesis 27)


Isaac had twin sons: Esau (the firstborn) and Jacob. When Isaac became old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called for his older son. Not knowing the day of his death, Isaac set in motion a process for blessing Esau with an inheritance that belongs to the first son by birth. 


A short time later in the story, I found myself grasping for a “mute” button and hoping my sleeping children wouldn’t wake up! 


An exceedingly great and bitter cry” pierced the air as Esau screeched in terror: “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” (Genesis 27:34, ESV). 


I wondered if shutting off my reading device would silence the cry and mitigate the onset of any sympathy pains? 


“Keep reading,” my plan whispered. 


What happened? 


In Esau’s words, he was “cheated” out of both his birthright and blessing by his younger brother, Jacob (Genesis 27:36, ESV). Blinded to his own sin, Esau was unable to see his own contributions to this predicament along the way.


His pain is tangible. The text says: “he lifted up his voice and wept” (Genesis 27:38, ESV). 


Esau’s ensuing anger and hatred for his brother were intense (Genesis 27:41, ESV). If he will not inherit the blessing one way, perhaps he thought he might procure it another way?


Crossed: The Blessing of Ephraim (Genesis 48)


Twenty-one chapters later, Jacob, now named Israel, is old and ill. His grandsons are brought before him. He will bless them before he dies as two of his own sons: Manasseh (the firstborn) and Ephraim.


Israel stretches out his right hand (for the older) and lays it upon Ephraim (the younger). He stretches out his left hand (for the younger) and lays it upon Manasseh (the older), crossing his hands (Genesis 48:14, ESV). 


Bracing for impact, I was relieved to discover Joseph’s reaction to this crossing is less forceful than that of Esau’s. The ringing in my ears from the previous episode continues to subside without further trauma…


Nevertheless, Joseph (the father of the two) is displeased with what he sees (Genesis 48:17, ESV). He says to his father, Jacob: “Not this way, my father; since this one [Manasseh] is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.” (Genesis 48:18, ESV). Jacob refused and said, “I know, my son, I know." (Genesis 48:19a, ESV). 


Insights


Jacob was not making a mistake. He was acting with what can only be understood as knowledge from God. This crossing was an obvious part of a larger context, which means the cheating of Esau’s blessing that preceded it was too. 


God knows what He will do. God does what He wills.


If we entertain the notion that God gives up, retreats or yields even one small detail of His plan in exchange for our own — with an attitude of come what may! — then the world would literally fall apart. God's plan is not altered by us.


The clamor of happenings around us confuse us. We respond with various degrees of emotion, depending on how we interpret events, as either a blessing or curse.


But if we keep reading, we will remember that the events of the world fit into a larger context — God’s revealed, bigger picture.


Esau was cheated out of his blessing, without the bestower’s knowledge. Ephraim was crossed into his blessing, with the bestower’s knowledge. Neither event was an accident. Both were purposeful events in God’s plan.  


As we keep reading, we are introduced to a descendant of Jacob (not Esau) who is God’s Son. He too would receive an inheritance, but was cheated out of it and nailed to a cross. God’s Son knew no sin, but was crucified by people who did. God’s Son had the right to live, but instead died. He was buried in a tomb — cheated and crossed


But if we keep reading, we will see God’s Son was raised! In a turn of events, death is cheated and crossed! For those rightly deserving death are granted eternal life by faith. Being raised, God’s Son receives the inheritance, and through Him we receive — God's blessing! 


This was all part of God's plan accomplished through His Son, Jesus. And Jesus is coming again soon. Keep reading.

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1/15 | Highlights & Insights from the Word
1/15 | Highlights & Insights from the Word

Christopher Campbell • January 15, 2021

January 15, 2021


Dear Church, 


Yesterday, I read Genesis 42 in my Historical Bible Reading Plan. (I'm using the NET Bible translation for personal reading this year).


This reading told about Joseph in Egypt, Pharaoh's dreams, and the severe famine. As I read verse 36, Jacob is responding to more bad news. The last phrase jumped out at me. Read Jacob's words for yourself:


42:36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You are making me childless! Joseph is gone. Simeon is gone. And now you want to take Benjamin! Everything is against me.” 


Can you identify with that last statement? Jacob's weariness and sorrow are palpable as they leap off the page in his cry: "Everything is against me." 


We've all thrown up our hands and said that at times, haven't we? There is little that can be said or done to cheer a person up who has reached that conclusion. It is truly depressing. And we've all been there. 


As I shared this highlight on social media last night, I began to receive responses. (While many people are leaving social media, I believe we should stay and proclaim God's Word as long as we can).


I found that phrase struck a nerve. Friends and family members living across several cities, with different jobs and life circumstances all found common ground with that same sentiment: "Everything is against me." 


But here is an insight worth considering:


I kept reading. And as I kept reading, I read God's story that told how Jacob saying, "everything is against him" was actually God working to preserve him. He just didn't know it at the time. 


Give some serious attention to this insight, and let the Spirit apply it as He will. Perhaps the Lord will lead you or someone else to be encouraged with greater faith in God today? 


If the Lord speaks to you through this highlight & insight, and gives you an application or testimony, share it in the comments below so that we all will be benefited together. 


Keep reading!


With love in Jesus, 


Pastor Christopher


P.S. - "If God is for us, who can be ________?" (fill in the blank from Romans 8:31!) 

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Reflecting on My First Year as Pastor
Reflecting on My First Year as Pastor

Southside Baptist Church in Decatur, AL • September 03, 2020

Matthew 7:24–27 (ESV)

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”


September 1, 2019 was my official "start date" as Pastor at Southside Baptist Church. On this one year anniversary, I've taken a moment to pause and think about the gift of this past year.


My First Step Forward: Preaching


My first step forward was Preaching. It still is!


Most church websites don't use that word. I use it intentionally. You'll find it positioned near the top of the list at southsidebaptist.net !


I want Southside to be identified as a place of quality preaching.


If you want to hear God's Word, rightly divided - you will hear it at Southside. If you want to hear the Gospel for the first time - you will hear it at Southside! If you want to be reminded of the Gospel every week - you will hear it at Southside!


I am convinced people want to hear from God. My commitment, my gifting, my calling is to proclaim God's Word and Work in Christ every week! As Southside presses on into the future, I am investing now in a legacy that I pray points people to the living God through a ministry of the living Word!


24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.


The Church is not a people who "do first, then hear." We are a people who "hear first, then do." That is wisdom.


How will they hear without preaching?


My Second Step Forward: Pastoring


Beeson Divinity School shaped me to be "a pastor who can preach." While I want Southside to know the benefits of good Bible preaching, I want Southside to also know that they have a Pastor!


Growing up, my pastors were all called "Brother _____." While that has a place and means something, I felt like an understanding of who a pastor is and what a pastor does was lost on me. I wanted to try something different with the congregation God had given to me.


When I began work at Southside, I was asked: "What do you want to be called?" My answer: "Pastor Christopher."


Why? I want Southside to know that they have a Pastor, accountable to God to care for their souls! To teach them God's Word and shepherd them into God's ways! To lead them into the worship of God in spirit and in truth that carries them through their week. To lead them to one day finish the race well and to pass on the faith of old to future generations!


Being called "Pastor Christopher" serves as a reminder to me as much as it does to Southside of the weight, calling, accountability and responsibility of pastoral work. I'm learning that takes time to teach because it has not been taught.


My Next Steps


25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.


The foundation doesn't matter if there are never any storms.


There will always be storms! Storms from without and storms from within. This is the nature living as a redeemed people who are not of this world but yet are in the world! The question is, will the house stand or fall?


That is determined by the foundation upon which it was built!


The Lord has led Southside into multiple preaching series through Acts, Hebrews and now Joshua. In each series we have heard from God just what we needed during that season! In each series, we encountered God's people facing challenges and obstacles and "storms." In each series, we saw the rock that is Jesus! And God did more with those who were faithful than ever was thought possible!


Southside is faithful. Southside is enduring! God is adding to our number -- even during the challenges of a pandemic! Above all, God is faithful in sustaining us in these days.


I am as energized now and excited to be pastoring as I was this day one year ago! That doesn't mean it has been an easy year - far from it! But I have peace because we are being built for this decade upon the right foundation that is Jesus Christ, the Living Word!


I have witnessed God moving this past year, doing things that only He could do - even in this pandemic! I have an assurance that He is working on building a house that will weather the storms for decades ahead to bring Him glory! I am humbled every day at the thought of stewarding what the Living God has entrusted to me. I want to encourage you with these words!


To God be the glory! With love in Jesus,


-- Pastor Christopher

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The Sermon Continues: An Exhortation to Benefit from God's Word
The Sermon Continues: An Exhortation to Benefit from God's Word

Christopher Campbell • May 21, 2020

The Sermon Continues: An Exhortation to Benefit from God's Word


Reading of Scripture


Hebrews 4:2 ESV

2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.


Good news is not exclusive to the Church age. The good news was proclaimed to the people of God then just as good news is proclaimed to us now!


They heard…but did not benefit.


Benefiting from (being helped by) the word of God always results from the same grace of God — receiving in faith what is heard.


Put another way, God’s word will not benefit us if we do not receive it with a genuine, living faith that in turn, not only commits to act, but DOES act on what is heard!


So it is, that faith shows that it is effective when we obey God.


This is why we say “Amen” when we hear God’s word read and proclaimed. Our faith is saying: “Yes, that is true. Yes, I will obey.”


In God’s economy, the benefit is in the believing and is demonstrated in obeying.


Yet, not all are obeying.


Let me urge you NOW! Believe God and obey Him! In EVERY area of the life that He gives and sustains for you! Even in the ways that require you to sacrifice.


God IS trustworthy and faithful! His ways are higher than our ways (Is 55:8-9). His word will be accomplished (Is 55:11).


“Without faith it is impossible to please him.” (Heb 11:6).


Faith benefits because faith unites.


All who receive the word of God with faith trust the God of the word and are united in Him.


Unity requires faith from all. Let there not be even one who is faithless among us! Let there not be even one who is disobedient among us!


As we are united in faith on the basis of God’s word, we are united in the receiving of God’s promise (Heb 4:13).


Hebrews 4:1 ESV

1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.


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The Sermon Continues: A Meditation on Testing
The Sermon Continues: A Meditation on Testing

Christopher Campbell • May 20, 2020

The Sermon Continues: A Meditation on Testing


Reading of Scripture


Numbers 14:4 ESV

4 And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”


Choose a leader...Go back…to Egypt?


Why did God’s people make such a rebellious statement?


Because of what they saw.


After forty days of spying out the land of Canaan, ten spies returned with this report:


“the people who dwell in the land are strong” (Num 13:28)


“the cities are fortified and very large” (Num 13:28)


“we saw the descendants of Anak there” (Num 13:28)


“they are stronger than we are” (Num 13:31)


“the land…is a land that devours its inhabitants” (Num 13:32)


“all the people that we saw in it are of great height” (Num 13:32)


“we saw the Nephilim ...and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers...” (Num 13:33)


Two spies returned with a different report.


Because of what God said.


The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel.” (Num 13:1-2)


Notice that Joshua and Caleb saw the same land as the other two spies. But their report was this:


Numbers 14:8 ESV

8 If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey.


Said another way:


“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31)


What did the people do?


“Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones” (Num 14:10)


Hebrews 3:16–19 ESV

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.


Exhortation


Testing will come. May we trust what God has said over what we see!





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The Sermon Continues: A Meditation on Faith from Hebrews 3:12-14
The Sermon Continues: A Meditation on Faith from Hebrews 3:12-14

Christopher Campbell • May 19, 2020


The Sermon Continues: A Meditation on Faith from Hebrews 3:12-14


Reading of Scripture



Hebrews 3:12–14 ESV

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.



An unbelieving heart refuses to trust God. An unbelieving heart has not faith.


Faith STANDS


“leading you to fall away from the living God”


It is fear that paralyzes and turns the heart into a stagnant pond. When fear is left to fester, it breeds unbelief and falling away.


Genuine faith overcomes fear by standing firm in the present nearness of the living God, even in a desert!


A faith that stands may be costly, especially as a leader who follows God. Moses thought the people would stone him when they grumbled and quarreled because of thirst! (Ex 17).


Yet, a faith that stands is required by leaders of God’s people for the people of God to imitate (Heb 13:7). Leaders of God’s people keep watch over souls as those who will have to give an account (Heb 13:17).


Therefore, people of God — stand firm in faith in the living God! Imitate the faith of those who speak God’s word to you!


Faith MOVES


“exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today”


God desires that we move with faith from one day to the next. Yesterday’s faith does not stay there. It builds and supports the faith needed for today.


Faith is not concerned with answers to questions like “How?” “When?” “Where?” (or the most common) “With What !?!”


Faith inherently contains doubts. We ask: “Is this really “faith” or is this “foolishness?” Is this “of God” or is this “of me”? If the process is so easily seen, it is certainly not faith.


Yet, when facing the impossibilities of the present and future, we face them all with an invitation for faith, believing that nothing will be impossible with God (Lk 1:37).


Therefore, people of God — exhort one another to faithfulness — Today! Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Heb 13:8). He is faithful, and always will be. So trust Him Today!


Faith ENDURES


if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”


God gives faith. God rewards faith. Hear the promise: “they will see His face” (Rev 22:4). They is not all, but only His servants who live by faith.


A faith that endures is a gracious opportunity to walk with God from beginning to end. Faith is for the in-between — the journey.


Faith that endures thanks God for uncertainties in the way. It is in these uncertain seasons that we get to hold fast to what God has given! We get to trust! We get to believe!


Therefore, people of God — hold on to your original confidence! Walk with God in faithful endurance! He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ (Heb 13:5).


Conclusion


“let none of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”


…For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Rom 14:23).


Is Christ dwelling in your hearts, through faith? (Eph 3:17).


When standing in faith together, we are standing with God.


When moving in faith, we are moving with God.


When enduring in faith, we are enduring with God.


God is present with us, through faith. Amen.

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